Year In Review
2021 is a wrap! It’s no surprise that the year didn’t exactly go how any of us expected, but it’s incredible to take a look back and see what our team was able to accomplish. While we navigated Zoom and Slack like the rest, we came together to support great clients and great projects. We thank all of the people, organizations, and companies that we have had the opportunity to work with this year. Here is a look at 15 notable projects from 2021.
As the oldest continually operating public market in the United States, Lexington Market is a beacon of Charm City’s food, culture, and history. We’ve been honored to help transform the iconic Lexington Market for future generations to come. An institution as old as Baltimore City itself requires a certain level of stewardship from a dynamic and dedicated team. Working alongside Seawall Development, BCT Design Group, and Baltimore Public Markets, Ashton has designed a new brand identity for the market. We conducted extensive historical research and community engagement sessions to drive our design process. The new identity builds upon Lexington Market’s storied past and celebrates the soulful character that makes the market truly unique. Lexington Market is scheduled to open in mid-2022. Keep an eye out for our newly designed market website and extensive experiential graphics and signage.
The Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, home of the internationally recognized Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO), was built in 1982. The iconic building includes over 50 precast concrete sound-defusing “clouds,” reminiscent of a Sci-fi Galactic Senate, and uses a series of convex curves to avoid flat surfaces or ninety-degree angles inside the hall. All of this, along with years of ineffective, mix-matched wayfinding makes for a complex and non-traditional interior space to navigate. This resulted in concert goers, and staff alike to feel frustrated and confused when trying to find their ticketed seats, the nearest lounge bar or even a restroom. Through extensive research, strategy models and stakeholder engagement, Ashton worked to develop and design a new, thoughtfully integrated wayfinding plan that was architecturally-inspired and respects the legacy of the space. Learn more in our case study.
Towson University partnered with Ashton to concept, design, and strategically launch its largest-ever capital campaign. In support of the University’s ambitious vision for its future, we were charged with developing a campaign brand that reflects TU’s unique character, activates pride within every corner of the university’s diverse community, inspires a desire to invest in TU’s future, and raises the bar by supporting a new culture of philanthropy at the university. Our strategy was informed by intensive research: insights from dozens of donors, alumni, faculty, and stakeholder interviews, roundtables, and more. The coordinating visual captures TU’s forward momentum and integrates visual elements from the Calvert Pattern of the State of Maryland’s flag. Learn more about the campaign and the website.
Based in Arlington, Virginia, the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) is the preeminent provider of public programming in the United States, with over 150 member stations across all 50 states and territories. Working with OTJ Architects, we conceptualized and developed architecturally integrated graphics within the lobby to showcase the full reach and breadth of public broadcasting in the U.S. Multiple recognition areas were designed to honor the PBS member stations, foundation donors, and the foundation board. Learn more in our case study.
Built and staffed by ER doctors, Exer Urgent Care is Southern California’s fastest-growing ER alternative. Each urgent care facility can see approximately 80% of the patients typically seen in an emergency room, while providing premier medical services and quick, affordable care. Working with We First, Inc. as the lead brand strategist, Exer‘s communications team, CEO and board, our team helped to rebrand Exer with a newly-defined brand purpose and story. The extensive process resulted in a fresh and bold new logo along with a ground-up brand system. Our approach was to continue to “shift” their industry through impactful brand visuals, while providing them with the tools and assets to scale up their urgent care model.
This year the Madewell clothing company (owned by J.Crew Group, Inc.) launched a new resale initiative called Madewell Forever™. Ashton was excited to partner with creative agency ATTN: to conceptualize and design the identity and rollout for the new brand. As a leader in sustainability in the fashion industry, Madewell partnered with Resale-as-a-Service (RaaS) provider thredUP to give customers the ability to resell and shop preloved Madewell online. Within the first month of launch, over 1,000 jeans were saved from landfills—equal to 323,786 gallons of water. To build on the momentum of Madewell Forever™, we designed a retail concept for Madewell and thredUP called The Circular Store. The first of its kind, the store exclusively sold preloved Madewell clothing. QR codes in the space educated customers on circularity and their role in the process. Read more about Madewell Forever and The Circular Store.
This year Loyola University Maryland celebrated the opening of a new academic building, the first of its kind in 10 years. The Fernandez Center for Innovation and Collaborative Learning is a green building that serves as the academic hub for the campus community. Our comprehensive donor recognition system, exterior building signage, ADA/ code signage, and environmental graphics were inspired by a central mission: innovative and interdisciplinary collaboration. Themes of community and mentorship are woven throughout the space, as the building is the new home of Loyola’s career development center. Learn more in our case study.
In 2021 AIA Baltimore celebrated its 150th Anniversary. As one of the five oldest chapters in the country, Ashton was honored to design a logo that would take over their existing identity as part of a year-long campaign. We also worked with AIA Baltimore to launch their new website and develop the identity, environmental graphics, and capital campaign for The Center for Architecture & Design. This new communal space functions as a nexus of education and outreach for design and architecture in Baltimore and serves as the new home for AIA Baltimore and Baltimore Architecture Foundation. Learn more about The Center in our case study.
The Deuces Live is a nonprofit organization dedicated to reviving and preserving the spirit of St. Petersburg’s 22nd Street corridor. Dubbed “The Deuces” after its double 2's, the main street was the heart and soul of St. Pete’s African-American community in the early and mid-20th century until the construction of I-275 in the 1970s. A cultural hub, The Deuces was a haven for African-American musicians like James Brown, Duke Ellington, and Billie Holiday. In 2021, The Deuces Live received a NEA “Our Town” Grant to revitalize the area. We were honored to work with The Deuces Live to help bring the neighborhood back to life with a strategic placemaking strategy, new neighborhood identity, vertical element designs for public spaces, and an activation strategy to increase commercial foot traffic. Our work was inspired by historical imagery of the neighborhood, the area’s musical heritage, and iconic murals.
The State of Maryland’s Commission on Civil Rights (MCCR) approached Ashton Design to design and write their 2020 annual report during a landmark year for civil rights. We worked to transform key facts and figures into an inspiring and visually graphic narrative. This redesign makes the publication more user-friendly, and reflects MCCR’s long standing as a statewide leader in civil rights. Clear infographics, strategic typography and color blocking, integrated case studies, and inspiring quotes and photography all combine to create a report that is inviting to read and easy to digest. Stay tuned for the 2021 report.
Named after The National Capital Press Co., a historic printing warehouse that has been incorporated into the project’s northwest corner, Press House is a new mixed-use community complex in Washington, D.C.’s retail- and culinary-rich Union Market neighborhood. Ashton partnered with developer Foulger-Pratt to create an iconic four-story tall blade sign and 14-foot address sign at the entry. Our designs for the entire interior and exterior signage identity and wayfinding combine industrial and modern elegance—capturing the building’s rich history and new, renewed spirit. Learn more in our case study.
Founded by Jessica Alba in 2011, The Honest Co. is a trusted name in the natural baby and beauty products industry. Ashton partnered with the creative agency ATTN: to strategically design and produce a 360 digital ad campaign to launch The Honest Co.’s new baby care product—clean conscious diapers. OTT video spots, animated ads, and organic social posts highlight core product features and functionality that make clean conscious diapers safe for your baby and the planet. Learn more in our case study.
The pandemic has challenged us all in specific ways, and one of Clemson University’s unique dilemmas was engaging with prospective students in a personal manner after in-person tours were canceled. As a solution, they turned to Gen Z’s favorite item: the digital app. Taking into consideration Clemson’s brand guidelines and ADA requirements, our team designed an interactive and playful ‘Tiger Fortune Teller’. The five-question quiz revealed trivia about the campus and delivered a unique final reading, with lighthearted gifs sprinkled in along the way.
Located within the wealthiest county in the United States, Vyne One Loudoun offers exclusive residences and amenity experiences in one of Virginia's top destinations for shopping, dining and entertainment. With two unique buildings offering over 350 rental apartments and townhomes, Ashton worked to conceptualize, design and implement an elegant brand for Vyne, from positioning, naming, messaging and identity development to printed leasing collateral and web design. We set out to marry the lush landscape of the Virginia countryside with the upscale vibrancy and elegant finish palettes of this modern haven. We embraced textural imagery and clean typography to strike the balance between rustic and refined.
The Madewell clothing company has grown into a retail destination for people of all shapes and sizes that champions creativity, inclusivity, and self-expression. Ashton partnered with the creative agency ATTN: to concept and design Madewell’s 2020 Do Well Report. The annual report examines Madewell’s commitment to doing better for our planet and its people. Designed with sustainability in mind, the interactive report utilizes a strong grid system, typographic hierarchy, and intuitive navigation for a user-friendly experience. Custom illustration and photography transform Madewell’s ambitious goals and statistics into visual stories perfect for a quick skim or a deep dive.
Additional Completed Projects
Columbia Gateway Innovation District (COPT), Columbia, MD
Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, D.C.
Guardians of the First Amendment Memorial (Moody Graham), Annapolis, MD
Harley-Davidson Museum Wayfinding, Milwaukee, WI
James Farm Ecological Preserve Wayfinding, Ocean View, DE
Maryland Commission on Civil Rights 2021 Annual Report, Baltimore, MD
Midtown Row Entertainment District (Greenbench Companies), Williamsburg, VA
SilverLake Residential Complex (Klein Enterprises), Belleville, NJ
The St. Paul’s Schools ONE Fund Campaign, Brooklandville, MD
University of Maryland Department of Neurosurgery Capital Campaign, Baltimore, MD
We were lucky enough to bring our team together for a festive outdoor gathering at our company founder David Ashton’s historic farmhouse in early November. On a beautifully crisp and sunny afternoon, we traveled from near and far to be reunited during our first in-person, entire team event of 2021. We enjoyed mulled cider, played with friendly farm animals, laughed our way through team Mad-Libs, and huddled around a bonfire to keep us warm as the sun set into the evening. We parted ways with our spirits bright as we launched into the holiday season ahead of us.
Works in Progress
Anne Arundel Community College, Arnold, MD
Baltimore Community Foundation, Baltimore, MD
Brighter Media Group, Halethorpe, MD
Brightview Senior Living Innovation Center, Fairfax, VA
Center for American Progress (OTJ Architects), Washington, D.C.
The Climate Pledge, ATTN:, Inc., Los Angeles, CA
ELSCO Elevator Safety Company, Owings Mills, MD
Franklin Park (Studios Architecture), Washington, D.C.
Glen Lennox (Grubb Properties), Chapel Hill, NC
The Gwendolyn (Grubb Properties), Chapel Hill, NC
The Historical Society of Harford County, Bel Air, MD
Johns Hopkins University O’Connor Recreation Center (GWWO), Baltimore, MD
Lofts at Yard 56 (MCB Real Estate), Baltimore, MD
Lorax Partnerships, Baltimore, MD
National Endowment for Democracy (OTJ Architects), Washington, D.C.
National Landing Water Park (JBG Smith), Arlington County, VA
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Foulger-Pratt), Silver Spring, MD
Notos Southern Bites Restaurant (District Builders Group), Laurel, MD
Port Covington Triangle & Cromwell Park (Weller Development), Baltimore, MD
Samos Greek Island Grill, Baltimore, MD
The Six at University Town Center (Perseus-TDC), Hyattsville, MD
SOKA Performing Arts Center (We First, Inc.), Aliso Viejo, CA
Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Studios Architecture), Washington, D.C
Like what you see?
Subscribe to our mailing list to learn more about the projects we are working on.